Background: The increasing popularity of complementary and alternative medicines in Canada has led to regulatory reforms in Ontario and British Columbia. Yet the evidence for efficacy of these therapies is still a source of debate. Those who are supportive of naturopathic medicine often support the field by claiming that the naturopathic treatments are supported by science and scientific research.
Methods: To compare provinces that are regulated and unregulated, we examined the websites of 53 naturopathic clinics in Alberta and British Columbia to gain a sense of the degree to which the services advertised by naturopaths are science based.
Results: There were very few differences between the provinces in terms of the types of services offered and conditions treated. Many of the most common treatments--such as homeopathy, chelation and colon cleanses--are viewed by the scientific community to be of questionable value and have no scientific evidence of efficacy beyond placebo.
Conclusions: A review of the therapies advertised on the websites of clinics offering naturopathic treatments does not support the proposition that naturopathic medicine is a science and evidence-based practice.